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Software Creativity 2.0 Paperback – November 27, 2006
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I hope this book will help creativity in our industry to move at least a little beyond lip service. -- Tom DeMarco, from the Foreword
From the Publisher
Dedicated to all the software people trying to change the world.
"...because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do." --Jack Kerouac
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Top Customer Reviews
These common references to creativity might be misguided, but they speak to an important truth: creativity is a topic of central importance to software development, and this seminal book provides a vivid explanation of how and why.
Most of the book is structured as a study in contrasts: discipline vs. flexibility, quantitative vs. qualitative, process vs. product, theory vs. practice, and so on. This is not just a tidy, contrived organizational structure. These contrasts define longstanding, conflicts in software development -- "essential tensions" if you will -- that are not likely to disappear anytime soon. Indeed, the intellectual energy generated by these "essential tensions" prod the explorations and spark the debates that, over time, keep the software industry moving forward. Glass explores these contrasting & conflicting positions with a rare appreciation for the value that both sides contribute to the software field.
Glass's writing style is light which sometimes has the effect of understating the importance of his subject matter. It's easy to breeze through the chapters, viewing the content as entertaining but not particular substantitive. It's only later -- when you see an agile zealot debating a process bigot, or when you a see an academically-authored article bemoaning the poor state of real-world practices -- that you think "none of these people seem to understand what the real issues are," and you realize that you've gained some uncommonly powerful insights from this book.Read more ›
This book is divided into four parts. The first part (and I feel the most important of the book) is the exploration of software creativity. Here he takes on nine dichotomous subjects (discipline vs. flexibility, formal methods vs. heuristics, optimizing vs. satisficing, quantitative vs. qualitative, process vs. product, intellectual vs. clerical, theory vs. practice and industry vs. academe, fun vs. serious) and explores the advocates on both sides and tries to find definitive answers (or at least raise more questions).
What I found fascinating about several of these chapters like quantitative vs. qualitative and industry vs. academe is that they can apply to many different industries and not just software. How many times has quantitative reasoning been used in business only to fail miserably in the hands of MBAs? How can academe differ so much from practice (like getting your Juris Doctorate compared to really practicing law)?Read more ›
I could write volumes about this book, but perhaps the most important thing is that it allowed me to rid myself of guilt about not following rigid software process. In the back of my mind, I always knew that software process as I've learned it is impractical and in many cases infeasible. However, it was taught in school as if it's (obviously) the only way, and therefore I had a lingering guilt about not being able to follow it precisely.
Glass speaks with a thundering voice from the practitioner's perspective exactly what is wrong with rigid software process and creativity-stifling management styles. He also explains the evolution of software process, and makes it very clear that we're no where near a satisfactory solution.
Why should you care what Glass has to say? For one, he's been in the software industry longer than most current software developers have been alive. He's also spent many years in academia, and has excellent insights on what's wrong with that side of the fence as well. But, above all, because what he says is true. Every once in a rare while you read something that rings so loudly that it can be nothing else but true. If you're a frustrated software developer, this is that book.
I applaud Glass for presenting such an honest discussion of the role of creativity in software process and management. I have no doubt he's made a few enemies along the way, but the discipline is certainly the better for it.
In short, if you're in the software field, and care at all about the future of the discipline, go out and get a copy of this book and read it cover to cover. Your career and the discipline as a whole will be the better for it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even though the book has respectable 20 years since its first publication (Version 1), the arguments it presents are as current as back then. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am an IEEE and ACM member with a Masters Degree in Software Engineering and around a 100 of high-quality books in my library, describing software engineering with a scientific... Read morePublished on September 3, 2013 by Software Engineer
The Problem mainly with this book is that it is not aligned with the typical Software Engineer mentality, many software Engineers turn to books looking for definite answers to... Read morePublished on March 25, 2010 by Mutaz Alawamleh
One point not brought up by other reviewers: I think the typesetting in this book is really, really poor. Read morePublished on February 8, 2010 by Johan Kotlinski
This is a loosely-knit collection of essays that range from the brilliant and thought-provoking to the mundane and pointless. Read morePublished on April 18, 2009 by J. Peterson
-Author cites his sources.
-The author presents some new ideas, that seem to be fresh. Read more
Robert Glass' essays are short, easy to read, and almost always annoying. This is a Good Thing. Software Development these days marches forward in PMO lock-step, or dances... Read morePublished on March 28, 2009 by talkaboutquality
I picked up this book based on Steve McConnell's recommendation in Code Complete. Things were slow through the first chapter, but it only got better the further I read. Read morePublished on October 15, 2008 by Adam Kahtava
It's a quick, but heavy ready. However, this is a great little peak into the psychologies involved in software. It's something I recommend all developers, managers, etc. Read morePublished on March 11, 2008 by J. Brutto